Cherry Shrimp vs Ghost Shrimp: Which One Is Ideal For You?

Cherry Shrimp vs Ghost Shrimp

Many people often get confused between ghost shrimps and cherry shrimps. They can’t figure out which one to get. So, in this article, I’ll provide a detailed comparison between the two so that you can figure out which one is ideal for you.

If you are looking for decorative & colorful shrimps, then cherry shrimps will be perfect. On the other hand, ghost shrimps are the ideal choice if you are looking for algae eater and clean-up crew.

There are many more differences between these two shrimp species. However, they are similar in many aspects too. Let’s get to the detailed comparison between cherry shrimps and ghost shrimps.

Cherry Shrimp vs Ghost Shrimp

Let’s take a short look at the difference between cherry shrimp and ghost shrimp:

Cherry ShrimpGhost Shrimp
Decorative and colorfulNot that much colorful
Smaller in size. So, you can keep larger numbers of them in your tankBigger in size. You can keep only half the amount of cherry shrimps in the tank
Relatively peacefulCan be aggressive towards smaller species
Easier to breedBreeding can be difficult
Can cost moreGenerally not expensive as cherry shrimps
Mainly kept for decoration purposesMainly kept for cleaning algae in the tank
Click here to buy the best quality Red Cherry ShrimpsClick here to buy the best quality ghost shrimps

Now that we have a general idea about the differences between these two types of shrimps, it is time to take a deeper look at some of the aspects:

red cherry shrimp overview and facts

Cherry Shrimp Overview

Cherry shrimps are the most popular dwarf shrimp among shrimp keepers. Both beginners and experienced shrimp keepers love them. Also, they are adored by shrimp breeders for their easy breeding capability. If you want lots and lots of shrimps within a short time, then cherry shrimps will be the perfect choice.

Let’s talk about color. The color of red cherry shrimps can range from soft pink to deep blood red. The color depends on the grade of the shrimp. Lower grades like red cherry shrimp have a soft pinkish color, while higher grades like Painted Fire Red have a solid red color on their bodies.

Cherry shrimps are not that choosy about the water parameters. They are a lot forgiving. That’s why cherry shrimps are ideal for beginners.

If you want to breed cherry shrimps, Then I’ll definitely recommend a shrimp-only tank. However, you can keep them with a few other tank mates too. However, you need to be very careful while choosing tank mates for cherry shrimps.

Cherry shrimps need lots of hiding places, plants and moss in the tank to thrive properly. These are also essential for keeping the shrimps safe from other potential threats.

Ghost Shrimp Overview

Ghost shrimps are generally not chosen for shrimp keeping. This is because they don’t have an attractive appearance like cherry shrimp. Ghost shrimps are mainly used as live food for other larger fishes such as Arowana, oscar, etc.

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Since the last decade, aquascapers started to use ghost shrimps for their algae eating capability. Ghost shrimps are highly effective at eating algae. They are also used as a clean-up crew for the tank.

Ghost shrimps also make a great beginner pet for someone who has just started his shrimp keeping journey. They are extremely hardy, even hardier than cherry shrimps. They can thrive in a wide range of water parameters.

If you want to buy ghost shrimps, you need to be careful. These days, many sellers are selling aggressive prawn from rivers under the name of ghost shrimps. The real ghost shrimp that is used for aquariums is called Palaemonetes paludosus. These are the ones you should try to get.

Ghost shrimps can live well with a large number of tank mates. However, don’t keep anything in the tank that can gulp the whole ghost shrimp in a single instance. Also, ghost shrimps can be pretty mean to other shrimplets and try to eat them.

One last thing, ghost shrimps can be very hard to breed. Their breeding process is not as simple as cherry shrimps. So, if you have plans to breed shrimps, ghost shrimps might not be the ideal option.

Now that we have a good idea about both of these shrimps and their requirement, it’s time to take a deeper look at their differences:

Appearance: Cherry Shrimp vs Ghost Shrimp

Cherry Shrimp Appearance

Let’s start with the size. Female cherry shrimps generally get about 1.5 inches long in size. I’ve written a full article where you can find more about cherry shrimp size. Their male counterparts generally get much smaller.

The most attractive aspect of cherry shrimp’s appearance is the color. Depending on the grade, their body color can range from a pink hue to a deep red solid color.

The lower grades like red cherry shrimps have a pinkish color with lots of transparent patches throughout the body. Higher grades like the painted fire red has a solid red color on its body.

Cherry shrimps are always more colorful and attractive than males. Also, when sexually mature, the female ones will grow a saddle in their stomachs. The saddle is used to hold the eggs before they get fertilized. The saddle is generally orangish in color.

Ghost Shrimp Appearance

Ghost shrimps have a transparent body. This helps them to hide from prey effectively. Ghost shrimps are so transparent that you can even see the inner-bodily functions such as digestion of the food. This is what makes them so popular in the fish keeping world.

The average size of the ghost shrimp is about 1.6 inches. The females can get larger than the males.

Here’s one interesting fact regarding the appearance of ghost shrimps: they have two antennae. One is longer than the other. Ghost shrimps use these antennae to sense what is happening around them. The antenna can gather chemical information about the water as well as check if there is any surrounding food.

Some biologists also think that antenna helps the ghost shrimps to be more social with their counterparts. However, it is not proved yet.

In terms of appearance, if you are looking for something colorful, then cherry shrimps win over ghost shrimps.

different shrimps' ideal water parameters infographic

Water Parameter: Cherry Shrimp vs Ghost Shrimp

Ideal Water Parameters For Cherry Shrimp

There are the ideal water parameter ranges for keeping cherry shrimps:

Temperature70 to 75 Degrees Fahrenheit
pH6.5 to 7.5
GH6-8 ppm
KH1-4 ppm
TDS150-250 ppm

Let’s explain each of the parameters briefly:

pH: pH stands for Potential of Hydrogen. It measures how acidic or alkaline the water is. pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14. 0 means fully acidic and 14 means completely alkaline.

GH: GH stands for General Hardness. It measures the amount of Calcium and Magnesium in the water.

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KH: KH refers to Carbonate Hardness. It indicates the stability of the pH in the water.

TDS: TDS stands for Total Dissolved Solids. It measures all the solid dissolved in the water except for the H20 molecules.

Ideal Water Parameters For Ghost Shrimp

For ghost shrimps, the ideal water parameter range is mentioned below:

Temperature70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit
pH7.00 to 8.00

In terms of water quality, ghost shrimps are a lot more forgiving.

yellow cherry shrimp colony
Owner: Kaz Brown

Feeding: Cherry Shrimp vs Ghost Shrimp

Cherry Shrimp Feeding & Diet

Cherry shrimps mainly live on 3 types of foods: algae & biofilm, commercial food and blanched vegetable as treat.

Algae and biofilm are the primary food source for cherry shrimps. If your tank has enough plants, then the tank will automatically grow algae and biofilm. There is no need to provide anything extra. If there aren’t enough algae in the tank, you can provide algae wafers.

There hundreds of commercial shrimp food available in the market. Get a reliable on and feed your shrimp on a regular basis. For my shrimps, I like Bacter AE and Sinking Pellets from Aquatic Arts. Both are great and my cherry shrimps go crazy for them. You can choose either one.

For blanched vegetables, you can provide cucumber, spinach, Zucchini, Lettuce, etc. Remember to provide these only as a treat. I feed my cherry shrimps blanched vegetable once a week.

Ghost Shrimp Feeding & Diet

You generally don’t have to think about providing additional foods to ghost shrimps. They are great algae eaters and scavengers. Ghost shrimps are like eating machines. They constantly scavenge through the substrate and eat any uneaten food debris, detritus, plant matter, etc.

However, for proper shell growth, ghost shrimp needs calcium. So, you can provide them some shrimp food with calcium on a weekly basis. Also, ghost shrimps will munch on dead tank mates, fallen shrimp bodies, etc.

So, in terms of feeding, ghost shrimps are less picky.

Breeding: Cherry Shrimp vs Ghost Shrimp

In terms of breeding, both ghost shrimps and cherry shrimps follow a completely different procedure.

Cherry Shrimp Breeding Process

Cherry shrimps give birth to direct babies, just like the miniature version of themselves. There is no larva stage involved with the breeding process. The baby shrimps can eat by themselves.

In this stage, Indian almond leaves or cholla wood in the tank helps the shrimplets a lot. Shrimplets require lots of plants, moss, hiding places in the tank. It helps to keep them safer from the tank mates and other potential threats.

Ghost Shrimps Breeding Process

In the case of ghost shrimps, the breeding process is not that simple. Ghost shrimps have eggs. From the eggs, larvae produce. The larvae take 4-5 days to turn into shrimplets.

The shrimplets require about 2 weeks for swimming around in the tank freely. Between the larvate and the shrimplets, there is another stage called Zoey. Zoeys live on bacteria until they turn to shrimplets.

Microworms is also a good food source for the shrimplets. Frozen blood worms are also a good choice.

So, based on breeding complexity, cherry shrimps are the clear winner here.

Tank Mates: Cherry Shrimp vs Ghost Shrimp

In case of compatibility, both cherry shrimps and ghost shrimps have almost similar requirements. You can’t keep any fish in the tank that is large enough to gulp down the whole shrimp in a single instance.

Also, any aggressive, temperamental, and territorial fishes are a big NO NO.

Snails, otocinlcus, corydoras catfish, bristlenose plecos, etc. can be a good choice of tank mates for both of the shrimps.

Algae Eating Capability: Cherry Shrimp vs Ghost Shrimp

Cherry Shrimp’s Algae Eating Capability

Cherry shrimps are decent algae eaters. They do a pretty good job cleaning up soft algae around the tank. Cherry shrimps also eat biofilm from the tank.

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However, compared to ghost shrimps they are not that much effective algae eaters. Cherry shrimps avoid hard spot algae, hair and thread algae.

Ghost Shrimp Algae Eating Capability

Ghost shrimps are like algae-eating machine. Many people actually keep ghost shrimps for their algae eating capability. They are not choosy like cherry shrimps. However hairy or hard the algae is, ghost shrimps will clean that up.

So, if your tank is suffering from algae bloom, ghost shrimps will be a pretty good choice to bring down the amount of algae.

In terms of algae eating capability, ghost shrimps are the clear winner.

Survival Rate: Cherry Shrimp vs Ghost Shrimp

Cherry shrimps are not as hardy as the ghost shrimps. Though they aren’t very choosy like cardina shrimps, they require their water parameters to be in a specific range.

On the other hand, ghost shrimps can do well in a vast range of water parameters. They are very hardy and can withstand many harsh environments.

Also, ghost shrimps can get larger than the cherry shrimps. So, they get less bullied by other tank mates.

So, in terms of survival rate, ghost shrimps surely beat cherry shrimps. But, breeding ghost shrimps is a lot harder than the cherry shrimps.

Can Cherry Shrimp and Ghost Shrimp Live Together?

Well, there is no definite YES or NO answer. It’s more like a gray line. Some people prefer to keep them both in the same tank. On the other hand, some shrimp keepers don’t recommend it at all.

If you ask me, I’ll answer it depends on the following factors:

  • If the tank is large enough for a large colony of shrimps, then you can keep both of them. But if the tank is small, ghost shrimps can get territorial and bully the cherry shrimps.
  • Ghost shrimps can be mean to shrimplets. They also sometimes try to eat them. So, if your tank has enough hiding places, plants, and moss, only then keep both of the shrimps together. Otherwise, you might lose a large quantity of the cherry shrimplets.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are ghost shrimp neocaridina?

The most commonly sold “Ghost Shrimp” in North America is the American Glass Shrimp – Palaemonetes paludosus, which is not a Neocaridina species.

However, some species sold as ghost shrimp can be naturally colored Neocaridina species.

What are the differences between snowball shrimp vs ghost shrimp?

Snowball shrimp and ghost shrimp look similar, but there are some noticeable differences. The biggest difference is the level of transparency.

Snowball shrimp have a milky look, while ghost shrimp have a more transparent body.

Additionally, snowball shrimp have a pure white color and are selectively bred from the wild Neocaridina species, while ghost shrimp have a slightly translucent body with orange bands on the base of their legs and antennae.

What are the differences between Whisker shrimp vs ghost shrimp?

Whisker shrimp and ghost shrimp have several differences. 

Whisker shrimp have longer feelers compared to ghost shrimp, while ghost shrimp have distinctive orange bands at the base of their shorter antennae.

Whisker shrimp are also slightly bigger compared to ghost shrimp and tend to be more aggressive. Meanwhile, ghost shrimp are smaller and have peaceful temperaments.

In terms of tank setup, whisker shrimp prefer a planted aquarium with hiding spots, while ghost shrimp prefer darker water at the bottom of the tank where they can be left alone without the interference of hostile tank mates.

Are ghost shrimps hardy?

Ghost shrimp are generally considered to be hardy and easy to care for. They can tolerate a wide range of water parameters and are able to adapt to different aquarium environments. However, like all shrimp species, they are highly vulnerable to fluctuations in water quality.

Are ghost shrimp better than cherry shrimp?

The choice between ghost shrimp and cherry shrimp will depend on personal preference and the specific needs of your aquarium.

If you are looking for an algae eating crew, ghost shrimps will be a better choice. On the other hand, if you want colorful shrimps, cherry shrimps will obviously be the better choice.

Cherry shrimp are also known to be more active and visible during the day, while ghost shrimp are more active at night.


At the end of the day, it all boils down to your personal preference. Both cherry shrimps and ghost shrimps can be excellent pets. If you are looking for something decorative and colorful, choose cherry shrimps.

On the other hand, if you need to reduce the amount of algae in your tank, ghost shrimps will do a badass job!

Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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